Sunday, 2 January 2022

What is Experimental Madness?

This blog category's impetus—as I look over the posts going back to 2006!—looks like it acts as a collection of software experiments in blojsom, as plugins or other fixes, or just straight up software discussions around Open Source projects (and possibly my contributions to them).

Well, I'm experimenting again you unlucky fools, with podcasting and perfecting the best workflows with my tools while minimizing my cash outlay. I have some fair-to-middling over the ear headphones and a Blue Snowball for my mic. It's an old one, close to 15 years old, and I think I read somewhere mics have a shelf life. P'ah. It's serviceable.

Garageband, of course, and Audio Hijack for my recording suite. I've been recording my D&D sessions with the start of a new campaign—ah, there's why you read, and why ACD's subtitle is d100 cups of coffee. My Audio Hijack session setup to date was a straight capture of all audio into an MP3. Serviceable for session review at the least.

I recently created a new session setup that handles dual track recording from my mic and the application (Discord). Without belaboring the details, I highly recommend this quick YouTube video by freelance podcast editor Chris Enns

Of course, the next session will use this configuration and I'm excited to try it. If I can get the permission of the players, I may actually release the sessions, edited of course; we can have some table dialog of personal or career related subjects not suitable for public release.

And I just figured out how I can get through January, I'll bore you to tears with reacquainting you with my blog categories, and possibly retiring a few.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:03 AM in experimental madness

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Trackbacks died last night

I disabled trackbacks last night. Somewhat sad about it, but it seems to be all the rage. TypePad announced plans to disable trackbacks and WordPress may be soon to follow.

I've never been a fan of the trackback protocol. Last night I looked at great many voices--some I was re-reading having first seen them over 10 years ago!--talking about the weakness in Six Apart's Trackback specification and slow definition of a version 2.0 that would include some kind of authentication mechanism. There were quite a few 10 year old posts talking about the death of the trackback...then. It may have taken 10 years to finally die however.

For me trackbacks became a spam vector that grew into a management problem. I just didn't want to spend 5 minutes a day or 15 minutes at the end of the week purging the moderation queue when every. single. trackback. was just spam. It was tiresome. 

My platform has support for trackbacks, pingbacks, and comments, including comment and trackback throttling (throttling is the ability to reduce trackbacks from a single IP to manage volume). I never get pingbacks due to the low adoption of the specification on many platforms, but it is the HTTP "back link" protocol I liked the most.

Ian Hickson wrote extensively about the pros of pingbacks vs. cons of trackbacks in 2002. I've been a convert to the specification ever since. While there have been emotional arguments to saving trackbacks, as a developer and actual maintainer of a blogging platform, I'm not convinced by touch feely arguments about making new friends because of trackbacks. Sorry, but I'm not seeking friends in the spam community. And making friends is not a specification that can be defined, so let's keep the death of the trackback moderately scientific in nature.

My appreciation of the pingback specification is not because it has the authentication that is missing from trackback, both don't seem to have any defined support. My appreciation is about the simplicity: it's just HTTP. There's no auto discovery necessary, no IDs, etc. Pingback just used good old HTTP and HTML metadata. And yet, while I have pingbacks on and trackbacks off, I don't expect a flood of the former. The specification kind of took off in 2002-2003 but fizzled in support.

Alas, this is all moot: with TypePad removing support, Blogger never really making it easy to support, and WordPress considering dropping support...2013 might be the year that the Trackback really died. Pingbacks may quietly follow.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:21 PM in experimental madness

Friday, 25 December 2009

The "maven-spike" is live

I migrated ACD to the blojsom 3.5 "maven-spike" yesterday.

"Eating the dog food," as is said in the halls of open source development. It went generally flawless save some issues with the PostgreSQL backend configuration that was not blojsom related as much as my fast fingers.
Posted by caffeinated at 4:41 PM in experimental madness

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Comments down?

I hate finding out comments on ACD are down. Again. From another blogger. In his comments. On another blog. Argh.

This is me debugging them. Move along.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:02 PM in experimental madness

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Better Hanging Indents in CSS

This is a post I have been meaning to complete for a while: better Hanging Indents in CSS.

A big part of my day job—well, less of it now, but just a short time ago, a big part of my day job—is to take marketing creative and bust it down into HTML (4.01), get it into our source code control (CVS), and integrate it with our backend (JSP/Struts).

The latter two are practiced, scripted processes, but the HTML part is still a hand-crafted element and something that I enjoy a lot. The creative will always contain legal footnotes in “mice type” and referenced with various asterisks, daggers, and markers. Many times, depending on the mood of the graphic artist, these markers will be set in a “hanging indent.”

What exactly is a hanging indent, for the uninitiated?

It is a typographic construct that serves to eliminate any visual interruption of the text alignment. Here is a visual aid:

What is hanging punctuation?

The ubiquitous method found doing a Google search will be: use a negative text-indent, e.g., text-indent: -.7em;. This method works, but has some visual problems when the markers are doubled-up, or are not the same em width, etc. Another visual aid:

Using text-indent for hanging punctuation

This alignment problem using text-indent has always put me off, so let me get to the point: there is a better way to do a hanging indent that works across most modern browsers (“The A-Grade”) without weird ordered, or unordered, lists, background markers, and “class explosion.”

The Code

  #ft p {
      position: relative;
  #ft a {
      position: absolute;
      top: 0;
      left: -2em;
      display: block;
      width: 1.5em;
      text-align: right;

The How and Why

Disclaimer: The vast assumption here is that the CSS constructs being used apply to your code. If not, apply as apropos to your code.

The #ft element contains the footnotes (“legalese”) in child p elements. Setting the position:relative of the paragraph prepares child elements for absolute positioning, that is relative (hence the term), to the parent.

The next block does the work. Here, the use of an a element is semantic and intended to allow the developer a way to link the body reference to the footnote. You can use any inline element desired though. Using position:absolute removes the element from the document flow and positions relative to the p element. Setting the left property to a negative em value pulls it out of the p box.

The display:block prepares the element width and text alignment properties. Setting the width is important. The width of the positioned element allows for the right edge alignment of the markers.

Nothing is better than examples to study. The first, using text-indent, and the second, using this new (?), better (?), and more visually appealing (?) method.

Decide for yourself. Comments welcome! ~o)

Posted by caffeinated at 4:56 PM in experimental madness

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Flock 0.9x test

I follow the development of Flock from time-to-time. Updating as major releases become available. Playing with the interface, toying around with posting here, etc.

Some notes on preparing and writing this post:

  1. Adding a link means spec'ing the full URL (or is it URI?), e.g, "" or "" don't work.
  2. Adding a blog, at least a MetaWeblog API capable blog service, means each category shows up as a separate blog. Seems I read that somewhere, might be a limitation of MetaWeblog API, or just a misunderstanding by Flock. Not sure, but it's odd interface to work with when mentally I don't organize my blog this way.
  3. The HTML could be better... no <p> tags, at least in the source view. Editor note: After posting it seems that not only are there no <p> elements, there are no break tags either. The first view of this post was one CLOB (Character Large Object for you minor geeks).

The real test is what this looks like once I hit post... Tada.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:56 AM in experimental madness

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Testing MarsEdit

Looking for a good blogging tool.

I like the admin interface for blojsom, but I would like less web-based tool.

This is a test post from MarsEdit.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:58 AM in experimental madness

Sunday, 20 May 2007



Posted at 10:51 AM in experimental madness

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Configuration hell

Move along

Posted by caffeinated at 8:40 PM in experimental madness

Monday, 12 March 2007

YUI madness

I love the YUI libraries.

My coworker and I have been introducing it at work for one thing and another. And I have been using it on projects in the moonlight, as they might say.

So when I stumbled on a bug in the new DataTable component (in beta), I was glad to submit a defect report and patch. The problem:

The YAHOO.widget.Column.formatDate function used date.getMonth() unmodified. Meaning that passed a date formatted string, i.e., "March 11, 2007", date.getMonth() returns "2" for "March". The API documentation for ECMAScript, or JavaScript, states that getMonth will return a number between 0 (January) and 11 (December).

Date strings passed to the DataTable Column would result in formatted dates that were nonsensical ("00/01/2000") or a month off.

The bug, and patch files, are available at the YUI SourceForge site.

Posted by caffeinated at 7:49 PM in experimental madness

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Back, and still running.

No hiccups, upgrade went flawlessly.

I primarily wanted to get the old editor back in the admin console. TinyMCE just didn't work out for me the way I hoped. Held a lot of promise, but I need to be able to escape from the editor at times, especially when massaging post meta-data.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:00 PM in experimental madness

Upgrade under way...

I'm upgrading the blog engine, blojsom, to 2.32 momentarily. Let's see how it goes shall we?

Posted by caffeinated at 9:45 PM in experimental madness

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Subversion kool-aid tastes good

Don't tell my friends, but I've tasted the Subversion kool-aid, and it tastes good.

I'm migrating some of my source to Subversion over the next couple of days to really get a feel for using this "CVS++" VCS.

Comments from the peanut gallery welcome.
Posted by caffeinated at 8:30 AM in experimental madness

Saturday, 18 March 2006

New emoticons, a test

Testing the enhanced-emoticons plugin for blojsom.

~o) :angry:  :D  :confused:  :cool:  :cry:  :\  :drool:  :eek:  :evil:  :(  :lol:  :mad:  :nod:  :puke:  :paranoid:  :o  :retard:  :rolleyes:  :wink:  :-)  :smirk:  :P  ;)

Posted by caffeinated at 10:13 PM in experimental madness

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Awake. Again.

Many caffeinated days have passed quietly on ACD.

The main thing keeping me away was an upgrade to the photo album plugin (“SimplePhotoAlbumPlugin” ) I was using.

It seems a new version had several bugs which should have been simple to hash out, yet I spent more time ferreting those bugs out than I care to admit--all the while it was broken in "production!" In the time spent working on the bugs, I refactored the whole plugin (not sure for the better, but the branching is cleaner, if not only clearer), and the plugin now supports photo albums spec’d as a comma-separated list in the meta-data (meta-photo-album-list). This new feature is something that would allow a user to load a bunch of photos to an album (defined as a directory on the host filesystem) and incrementally reveal them by updating the meta-data.

The plugin is still not public, but will be soon. It will be made available on the blojsom wiki. With some appropriate documentation of course.

Tilt-shifting meme now displays the picture as I originally intended.

Posted by caffeinated at 8:32 PM in experimental madness